The lettings market in England is now re-open. Still, practices involving viewings will have to change to account for coronavirus:
The first thing to keep in mind is that no in-property viewings should take place while the prospective or current tenants have any symptoms linked to coronavirus.
Physical viewings should be arranged by appointment. Ensure that only the household members are let in. Open house viewings should not take place. Pay special attention that nobody touches any surfaces in the property. Letting agents and landlords can accompany prospective tenants on a viewing. However, every viewing participant should practice social distancing.
Initial viewings should go virtually wherever possible. You should ask them to record a virtual tour of the property if tenants are still in residence. If the property is vacant, you may file the virtual tour by yourself.
If the current tenants are performing the viewing, they should also be provided with information on how to ensure they can follow social distancing practices while prospective tenants are in the property.
Ideally, the property should be viewed after the tenant has surrendered the property. Where this is not possible, the tenants should go out for exercise during viewings, ensure the property is well ventilated with windows open before they leave, and clean the surfaces of the property with household cleaning products after the viewing is complete.
In addition, while properties in England may be visited for viewings, where there are tenants in residence, you should be mindful that they may not want people to visit their property at this time. If they do refuse access then you should wait until the property is vacant before arranging viewings.
In general, the advice is to avoid entering the property unless the work cannot be done remotely or delayed until an appropriate time in the future. The Government has recently published guidance on the re-opening of the lettings industry and it asks all parties to consider what measures can be undertaken remotely to avoid unnecessary face to face encounters with tenants.
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